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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So two weeks ago I brought my 03 sable (with the 24v duratec) in to have a loose heat shield removed. While it was in, during their normal inspection they recommended new spark plugs due to age/mileage. Going to work the next day suddenly the engine starts misfiring for the first time ever and I brought it back to have them tell me it’s the spark plugs and I need to have them replaced for $1100. Next day, engine is misfiring again. I brought it back and they said it was a faulty spark plug so they replaced it for free. Today, a week later, I suddenly end up in limp mode, with almost no acceleration (with low RPMs) and no check engine light. Turned car off and on again and it’s fine. Could this be related to spark plugs or could they have been wrong about the spark plugs from the start? Could they be sabotaging my car for money? The whole spark plug ordeal seems very suspicious.
 

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Any hard codes or pending codes? What are the long term fuel trims on each bank at idle and with engine under load? Just wondering if you have a vacuum leak.

What brand / part number plugs did they install? Hopefully NOT Bosch!

Damaged plug wires? Poorly / incorrectly routed plug wires resting on the exhaust manifold? Hairline cracks on plug insulators due to plugs being dropped or otherwise damaged? Coil pack failing? Pull it and check for ANY cracks, especially on the bottom. Any cracks, not matter how small, coil pack is junk. Replace only with Motorcraft or BWD (Borg Warner) coil pack, not cheap no name brand from the discount parts store.

$1100 to change plugs????? That is INSANE! What is their per hour labor rate? $300 per hour?? I can do plugs on a Tec, including new UIM gaskets, in 3 or so hours in my garage working relatively slowly.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Any hard codes or pending codes? What are the long term fuel trims on each bank at idle and with engine under load? Just wondering if you have a vacuum leak.

What brand / part number plugs did they install? Hopefully NOT Bosch!

Damaged plug wires? Poorly / incorrectly routed plug wires resting on the exhaust manifold? Hairline cracks on plug insulators due to plugs being dropped or otherwise damaged? Coil pack failing? Pull it and check for ANY cracks, especially on the bottom. Any cracks, not matter how small, coil pack is junk. Replace only with Motorcraft or BWD (Borg Warner) coil pack, not cheap no name brand from the discount parts store.

$1100 to change plugs????? That is INSANE! What is their per hour labor rate? $300 per hour?? I can do plugs on a Tec, including new UIM gaskets, in 3 or so hours in my garage working relatively slowly.
I don’t have a way to read codes myself, also not sure what brand the plugs and coil were, it doesn’t say in the receipt. Their labor is $150 an hours and took 3.27 hours, it’s the parts that were super expensive.
 

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Parts super expensive???? I call BS. Plugs, even Irridium plugs, are maybe $5 each. High quality Motorcraft coil pack is around $120, or BWD coil pack (same as the Motorcraft) is around $80 or $90. Motorcraft plug wires around $40.

I assume the shop ran a complete code test??? Reading codes is always the first step in a diagnosis. If they didnt run a complete code test, look at live data, Mode 6 data for missfire counts, etc, find a shop that knows how to do a systematic diagnosis and not just throw parts at it hoping to fix it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Parts super expensive???? I call BS. Plugs, even Irridium plugs, are maybe $5 each. High quality Motorcraft coil pack is around $120, or BWD coil pack (same as the Motorcraft) is around $80 or $90. Motorcraft plug wires around $40.

I assume the shop ran a complete code test??? Reading codes is always the first step in a diagnosis. If they didnt run a complete code test, look at live data, Mode 6 data for missfire counts, etc, find a shop that knows how to do a systematic diagnosis and not just throw parts at it hoping to fix it.
Agreed that the parts seemed extreme. I can’t remember the exact cost of everything but I’ll take a look at the receipt later. Do shops mark up parts typically?

Anyways they did pull codes, said that’s how they found the misfire on 3. I would think they’d know how to do a proper systematic diagnosis since they’re ASME certified but I’m concerned they’re trying to rip me off because I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok they just got back to me and here’s what they said about the issue after bringing it in this morning.
Cause = tech found 2 codes stored for banks 1 and to rich. p1132 and p1152. tech found fuel trims very very low indicating the egnine trying to pull fuel out of the engine. tech smoked intake and pcv system and found loose fitting hose on rear of valve cover. tech hose clamped hose and resmoked and found no leaks. tech cleared codes and reset keep alive memory and fuel trims look good a this time. hose is not removed for spark plugs or intake manifold removal.
Could this hose have been something they knocked loose during spark plugs? It’s just the diagnosis cost they’re charging me so far, but that’s still $120.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Parts cost: plugs (x6) - $100.20, plenum gasket (x1) - $33.78, wireset (x1) - $116.05, ignition coil (x1) - $176.89.

Seems pretty high.
 

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Parts cost: plugs (x6) - $100.20, plenum gasket (x1) - $33.78, wireset (x1) - $116.05, ignition coil (x1) - $176.89.

Seems pretty high.
I would be looking for a different shop if it was me. The plenum gasket is the closest thing to a normal price I see.
 

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$100 for 6 spark plugs is highway robbery!!! Coil pack price is reasonable IF the coil pack was a Motorcraft part. If not Motorcraft and just a no name unit from some discount parts store then highway robbery again. $116 for plug wires is absolutely insane!!

As noted above, find a new shop that doesnt rob you blind!!!!!!!
 

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I remember 40 plus years ago when I was in college my car had a bad bearing that seized on the spindle. I always worked on my own cars but this case I couldn't. Parts were marked up two to three times of what I would pay at a parts store. When I look at parts costs at a shop I have seen at least a two times mark up at independent shops. Dealers charge full dealer cost but the labor cost are $120+ and shop material percentage, while independent shops will charge less on labor. Wonder what the flat rate hours is for changing plugs.
 
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